Writing is a skill, and like all skills it cane be learned and honed. Some people have a natural talent and flare for certain things, others have to try a little harder. Wherever you stand, if you love writing you should write. And if you’d like to improve and grow there are plenty of ways to do so.
Let’s start with the simple and most effective answer. Write. You learn as you do, and you improve as you do. As with all skills, you will get better with practice and perseverance.
2. Read Fiction
If you’re writing fiction, you’ll learn a great deal about what you like/don’t like by reading fiction. You’ll get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. And if you’re going to tell stories, it’s important to get used to the way stories are shaped. (This can also be done by watching TV shows and films, because the way the stories unfold are skillful, suspenseful and exciting.)
3. Read Non-Fiction
There are plenty of books out there offering tips and advice on writing. These can be a great way to discover knew practices that will improve your craft, or give you a starting point if you’re new to writing. Do be aware though, some of these books will try and sell you hard and fast rules about writing, when there’s actually a lot of freedom in writing and you should do so in a way you enjoy.
4. Go to Events
Check for writing events that you can get to throughout the year. These may be literary festivals, workshops or author/agent talks. You’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded people; writers, agents, book lovers. And in an environment like that you’ll pick up many fantastic ideas to encourage you to learn and grow and improve.
5. Find a Critique Partner
Critique partners are the best. Find a fellow writer who you can trust. You’ll read each others work, give feedback, offer advice and share experiences. It’s the most wonderful way to learn, because it’s so interactive and personal. There are few ways more important than this.
6. Take a Course/Study
First, let me make a very important point; you do not need to study/gain a qualification in writing to be a writer. However, if you enjoy studying and would like to be given a specific focus and direction, then a course could be great for you. Evening classes, university, even online courses. Whatever works best for you, if you think you’ll gain something from studying, go for it.
I wanted to tack this on to the end. You will learn loads by writing, but you will learn as much, if not more, by editing. When you edit your work you’re forced to look at it with a critical eye and actively work on improving it.
What do you do to learn/improve your craft and your skills as a writer?
I LOVE to learn so it’d be great to hear your advice.